Category Archives: Single Shot Stories

Stories that are not apart of a story chain.

Flash Fiction: Twisted Love

This week’s challenge is pretty open ended.  Twisted love, probably in honor of V-day.  This story actually relates to the back story of a novel I’m currently working on.  Its how the parents of one of main character’s meet.  I had a lot of fun working on it.

Beautiful Mistake


“I wonder where I can find something to eat,” a handsome man with white skin and flaming mane muttered.  He leaned up against a pine tree rubbing his belly.  He braced his arms back to push off the tree, when he froze.


A young woman with dark hair and eyes walked down a dirt pathway going down the hillside.  Her robe was undyed linen and her only adornment was a carved, open book on a plain string around her slender neck.  She grasped a book in her hand, as she sang softly to herself.


“A Priest of the Unbidden,” he said.  He shifted in his chainmail and stepped forward.  “Excuse me. Do you know where there is somewhere to eat?”  His voice was smooth, and seductive.


The woman stopped and stared.  A blush came to her cheeks.  “Yes,” She said, averting her eyes.


The man winced.  He hadn’t meant to use his powers, but he hadn’t learned how to turn them off.  “Where do I need to go?”


The woman tipped her head. “Down by the Heart of Thought,” She looked away chewing on her lip.


The man mulled this over. He knew that meant the place where Priests of the Unbidden lived, but he didn’t have any interest in the bland food they ate.  “Is there a tavern or café there?”


“Yes, nearby in the village,” She said her face turning more crimson by the second.


He knew it was because his power was going more and more each second they spoke.  “I’m Voracan, by the way, what is your name?” He asked, hoping it might help offset his powers.


She bowed with a stiff movement.  “I’m Lillian High Priest of the Unbidden.”  A bit of the blush faded from her cheeks.


“Could you show me to the tavern, then?” Voracan thought he might be able to find it, but there seemed to be an awful lot of winding pathways here.


Lillian nodded, and started down the path.  For the first few moments the only sound was soft cooing of a bird.  “Why did your parents give you a name in demonic?”


His face scrunched up.  He knew he should have come up with a name that didn’t reveal what he was.  “I’m a demon.”


She whipped around to stare at him, all color draining from her face.  “Are you serious?”  Her hand went to clasp around the book symbol.  “Stay back.”


He shook his head.  “I was thrown out of Silt.  I’m no threat to you.”


“Do not lie to me, demon.”  Lillian’s voice turned hard.  Her eyes blazed with passion.  “We of the Unbidden have no power other than our knowledge.  I know all about the lies, and tricks demons play to gain humans to torment.”


Voracan was fascinated by the change.  When she wasn’t being cowed by his presence she was a strong woman.  “You are right. I have power to harm you. “He gave her his best disarming smile. “It would be more accurate to say I would not.  I was thrown up for sparing a human, not for harming one.”


“How do I know you were tossed out?” Her nostrils flared as her face tensed.  “Anyone could call themselves forsaken, it means nothing.”


He acknowledged that was true.  Then, he let go of his appearance that made him look human.  His skin turned deep ash gray, large horns curled from the side of his head, eyes the color of rubies and hair of living flame flowed down his back.   He knew in his form his features grew finer and whatever was more attractive to the viewer.  “I wouldn’t bother with words.”


“Seducer,” She swallowed hard.  “Why are you bothering with words?”


“I don’t like what I am. I never have. I want to live a normal, human, life.”  That’s all he really wanted.


The woman eyes narrowed and her grip tightened on the symbol of the Unbidden.  “And, how do I know that this isn’t some scheme to lower my guard so you can seduce me?  I’d be a prize wouldn’t I? The High Priest of the Unbidden.”


Voracan figured it was true.  High Priest was an eternal virgin untouched, and always raised with in the order.  “Why are they letting you wander around on your own?”


She huffed.  “I’m hardly wandering around on my own.  This is a short walk from the Heart.  You are the interloper here.”


Voracan couldn’t help it, he grinned.  She was adorably irritated. “Why are you walking by yourself, then?”


“As if it is any of your business, silt spawn,” she said.  A bit of the acid had faded from her voice and her features softened.


“I suppose it isn’t.”  Voracan was definitely surprised by the fire in her nature.  Who’d think for a scholarly little virgin would be so bold.  “But, it does seem your people would travel with you.”


“It is a short walk to the village. It is my duty and privilege to talk to the villagers and train them in words and numbers.”  She took a step back up the path watching him.  “And, to spread the word of knowledge.”


He ran his gray hand through his hair and changed his appearance back to the handsome man with flame colored hair.  “Well, if you’ll tell me the direction to the village I’ll head there now, and leave you to your preaching.”


She went still, and then her eyes went huge.  “I can’t let you in the village alone.  Those people are mine to protect.”


“Either I eat food or feed in more traditional way for my species.”  Voracan preferred to avoid that.  After youth of feeding at the order of the older demons, he didn’t want to indulge in anything carnal.

Lillian’s fingers went white, she chewed on her lip.  “Walk in front, I’ll keep my eyes on you.”


As he shifted to in front of her he took the path.  He could hear her talking in a softest of whispers.   The thick trees opened up to reveal a small village.  The houses were freshly painted and the roads paved with gravel.


A warm hand rested on his arm.  “The tavern is the first building on the right.”


He flicked around to look at his companion.  The tavern didn’t really stand out it look much like the other buildings.  The only difference was a sign of a bed and tankard on it.  “It’s more of an inn?”  He asked keeping his voice low.  Since, his powers weren’t under his control he figured he shouldn’t push his luck.


Lillian ignored the question as they stepped inside.  The walls were a bright blue, the tables and furniture white.   There is even lace curtains, Voracan thought with a shake of his head.  “Can you order for me, I’ll give you money? I don’t dare talk more than I need to.”


Those dark eyes seemed to pierce his mind.  “Why?”  There was an edge to her voice that he found compelling instead of terrifying.


“I can’t control my powers yet.  When I’m hungry I tend to…” He paused wondering if there might be a better way to phrase it.  Then, he gave up, “seduce them.”


Lillian didn’t look as if she believed him.  She let out a long, drawn out breath and held out her hand.  Voracan hurried to put a gold weight in it.  She lifted a brow at the amount.  When he didn’t respond she headed to the counter.


He picked a chair in the far corner away from all the windows, and the door.  He settled in so his back was to the wall and he could see everything.  Lillian sat a mug before him and glass before the seat beside him.


A sniff told him his was some kind of ale, and hers was water.  “You don’t drink?”


“Of course not,” She said.  “The only vice is the power of the word, the truth of knowledge. I indulge in no other.”


He’d forgotten.  She didn’t fit the picture he had in his mind for a Priest of the Unbidden.   He sipped at his ale, and gave her a grin.  “You are missing out, this is fine ale.”


Lillian ignored him and set her book on the table and began to read.   Her fingers were long, fine and had callous exactly where one would from holding a pen for long periods of time.  She kept the tip of her index finger under each word as she read.


A thunk caused Voracan to jerk his head up.   A metal plate landed next to his ale, it had a thick stew with a biscuit next on a napkin to the side.  He waited until the server walked off, before turning to Lillian.  “Aren’t you going to eat?”


She lifted her head looking puzzled. “It is forbidden to eat anything outside The Heart.  It is to flavorful, and carries with the risk of temptation.”


Voracan felt himself smile again.  “You are going to sit there and read while I eat?  Why don’t you go deal with your students?”


“I won’t leave you alone, who knows what you’ll do.”  She didn’t even look at him as she continued to read.


“Come on, eat a biscuit.  How flavorful can a biscuit really be?”  He held out the flaky thing toward her, the napkin still folded beneath it.


She lifted her head.  “Eat your meal, and leave me be.”


“No, I don’t think so.  I can’t enjoy my meal with you sitting there not having anything to eat.”   He waved the biscuit out in front of her.  “It wouldn’t be right.”


Lillian shut the book and grabbed the biscuit settling in front of her.  “No one talks to me this way, Forsaken.”


“I’m not a villager, and I’m certainly not a member of the Unbidden.  I never tried denying myself anything.”  Voracan enjoyed good food, good drink, and good clothes.  He’d never give them up voluntarily.


She sniffed.  “You should try it.”


“I’d never work.  I’m a demon. It is a part of my nature.  It the same reason I was banished from Silt.  I couldn’t be different than what I was.”  He shrugged.  “That’s life, you can only change so much.”


Lillian picked at the biscuit.  She started to break it up in tiny pieces.  “You are awfully philosophical for demon.”


He let out a bark of laughter.  “You know a lot of demons, do you?”


For the first time, she smiled.  It made her regular face into something of great beauty.  Her eyes sparkled and her face came alive.  “I suppose you are right.”  She nibbled on a bit of biscuit absently.  Then, her eyes widened.  “Gorinth’s Balls, I shouldn’t have done that.”


“Gorinth’s Balls?” Voracan felt his chest rumble.  “What language for a Priest.”


Her cheeks blushed deep red.  “Sometimes, I work in the stables.  The stable master isn’t a part of the Unbidden.”


“How was your biscuit?” Voracan asked before digging into the stew.  It wasn’t the finest thing he ever ate, but it was good.


She toyed with it bit longer before taking another bite.  “Wonderful and you eat the rest. I can’t take the risk of eating more.” She pushed it back over to him.


He swallowed.  “If you are the High Priest you have never got the opportunity to rebel.  I think eating a biscuit is safe enough.”


“One vice leads to another.  Each vice is a weight on the scale of balance.”  Lillian spoke each word with a sharp dictation.


“Quoting the tenants of the Unbidden,” He shook his head.  “You are interesting to talk to Lillian of the Unbidden.”


She tipped her head.  “How would I be interesting? All I do is read books.”


“You don’t act like it.  You are fiery, and quick with your wits.”  He watched the blush creep up her neck. “Then, you throw in the random odd saying of the Unbidden.”  After taking the last bite of stew he shoved it away. “I’m going to explore the village.”  He jumped up and rushed out the door.


He could hear Lillian scrambling behind him as he made it out the door.   For some reason, he didn’t want to leave her yet.  She was a mystery and he hadn’t met many of those in his life.  All around the paved square up a head there were merchants.  One was selling cups, tankards, and mugs.  He’d needed a metal travel cup for the road.   He took off toward him.


As he got closer the merchant had a huge selection of items.   The man smiled at Voracan.  “Greetings, good sir.  What can I help with on this fine day?”


“I need a set for travel.”  He motioned at the small travel bag attached to his side.  “A small set, I like to travel light.”


The man shook himself off.  Though, his eyes didn’t want to leave Voracan’s body.  He knew his powers were affecting him.  “I’ll gather up a simple set for you, sir.”  The man turned missing around in the back of his cart.


Lillian moved beside him a frown on her face. “Can’t you control yourself?”


He felt his cheeks heat up.   “I haven’t been out of my home very long, less than a month.”


Lillian’s brows disappeared into her hairline as her eyes widened.  “That’s not long at all.”  She pulled at a strand of hair.


Her eyes rested on a bright yellow mug, the color nearly glowed.   Her fingers ran down the side of it.  “That’s a happy color.”


Voracan stepped toward it.  “Do you like it?”


“I said it was a happy color.”  Lillian said her word’s sharp.  Voracan suspected she didn’t want to admit more than that.


The man returned with a small sack.  “Here you go, sir.  A plate, a mug, and cutlery.  Anything else you need?”  The man’s voice had grown husky.

Voracan made the effort to try to tone down his seductive power before speaking.  “May I also have that yellow mug over there?”


The man shook himself off, looking a bit more natural.  “Sure, sir,” he grabbed the mug wrapping it up with paper.  He placed in a paper sack.  “That will be half a weight.”


Voracan thought it seemed steep, but this area was very out of the way, and he had no trouble getting money.   Before he could hand it over, Lillian stepped in front of him, giving it to the man.  “Your change from your meal, Voracan.” She said before stepping away.


Voracan took his two sacks moved with her.  “The rest of my change?”  He grinned, thinking that she was keeping his money.


She held out her hand with the rest of the money.  “Take it.”


His fingers ran down her palm as picked up the coins.  He lingered touching her longer than necessary.


Her hand snapped back.  “Are you quite done?”


“Sorry, your skin is quite soft.”  He pulled up the sack and handed it over to her.  “Here, I bought the mug for you.”


Lillian glared at the bag. “It is forbidden to have such things.”


“Keep in your room, no one will know it’s there.”  He winked at her.  “I’ll keep your secret.”


She stiffened her hand still not taking the sack.  “Why would I keep it?”


“To remind you have the handsome, philosophical demon you met who trailed about town one morning.”  Voracan wasn’t sure if she’d want to remember.  He did.


Her lips twitched and she took the sack.  “You are interesting, Voracan.  I still do not trust you.  This could be a game, demons are fond of them.”


“That’s true, we are.”  He knew he should go, but he couldn’t make himself.  “I’ll earn your trust.”


“Earn my trust?” Her voice went a pitch higher as she clutched at the sack.  “What does that mean?”


“I think I shall stay around town a bit.  Perhaps, I’ll take you up on your advice and join the Unbidden.  It might be good for me to learn the wisdom of the ages.”  He had to grin at that. “At least use the library at any rate.  I could learn more about the Northern Kingdoms, perhaps pick a name that’s more common.”


“Right,” She spun around.  “I’ll keep tabs on you. If I have to I’ll call my friend, who is a priest of Gorinth to banish you.”


He watched her rush off.  “Don’t worry, I’ll behave, Lillian.”  He whispered as his heart clenched.

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Filed under Elenmitis, Single Shot Stories, Writing Challenges

Flash Fiction: Voice Mail from the FUTURE!

This week’s flash fiction challenge is a little different.  First of all, Chuck Wendig is farming it out.  And second of all we have to make an actual voice recording of a voicemail of the future.  I totally love this idea.  It reminds me of the Artifacts of the Future that show up in the Wired magazine, which I love.  My voicemail is mom calling for tech advice with a twist.


Son, I don’t know how to get this piece of crap to work.



I went to the doctor and got the port installed.  But, I can’t get the damn hangy bits to attach.  And, I know you said to hold down the start button, but it just keeps restarting over and over.

<pacing speed up>

And, don’t say I need to read the manual I read the manual.  And, you know what? It doesn’t make any damn sense.  Not a bit.  If you want me to use this stupid thing, you need to come over and help me.  I’m done messing with it.

<bright and happy voice>

Love ya, bye.

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Flash Fiction: Bah Ra

Chuck Wendig’s challenge this week is to make an alcoholic drink (imagined or not) and write a story relating  to it.  I brought back Soul Merchants, cause they’re fun.

Bah Ra

“I like being in Woellian body.  You guys know how to make a cocktail.”  I fluttered with strands of white hair I’d streaked black.  The deep blue skin I wasn’t quite used to, but I’d only been in this body a week.

The Woellian bartender skin was a pale blue with multi colored swirls painted on his skin with only narrow strips, bright red over his body, and blocking the important bits.  He frowned, those snowy white brows like two beautiful clouds in the sky.  “You are a Woellian.”

“Try again, sweet cheeks.”  I sipped drink, it was acidic, fruity, and kicked me in the teeth.

His eyes glanced downward.  An infinity symbol made out of hourglasses rested between my breasts.  “Soul Merchant.” He bared back his lips around his predatory sharp teeth with a hiss.   “Your kind isn’t allowed in here.”

“Oh come on now.  I’m not a regular Soul Merchant.  You should know that.  I’m what your people call an eiaa of my kind.  Your leaders have given me special privileges.”  The drink smelled good.  Ripe, lush, like you could bite into and juice would run down your chin.

“I’ll confirm that myself.” He stepped away to near the bouncer.  In all my many lives, I never got along with bouncers.  Wild drunken women never seemed to appeal to them.

With a twist of my hip I swiveled on the bar stool.  The decorating here was odd.  Well, odd for anybody but a Woellian.  The ceiling was a splattered with every color imaginable, then overlaid with sparkling net of diamonds.   The walls were ever changing light patterns of red, blue, yellow.  And, the floor was painted black to look as it was the middle of a fireworks display.  They had weird taste.

The music at least whispered deep in my soul.  Rhythmic, dark, and fast paced, it made me want to give into my emotions and dance.

“You are cleared to be here.”  A rumbling little growl from behind me, the bartender didn’t like me.  Unfair, really, I’m so likable.

“What’s in this?” I asked as I turned back around to face him.

“Jul berry, three smashed, bactium tincture, and heart of leora flower.”   He recited those pretty gray eyes hostile.

I wish I hadn’t asked.  Ignorance is bliss, as I well knew.  “Not all Soul Merchants are bad.  We are like genies. We grant people wishes, you know.”  I gave him my best pretty girl smile.

His eyes flattened as they flared red for a second.  Oh, man hunting red was coming out. I must have pissed him off.  “You give people what they want, if you deem it in your own interest.  And, they pay you in something that they don’t understand.”

“How’d you figure? You know your own worth don’t you.”  I took another drink.

“Nothing would know the value of a soul as much as Soul Merchant. “  He shook his head.  “Therefore, you offer the deal with false pretenses.  You could say anything you wanted. I would have no frame of reference for the deal.  Nor anyone to counter the deal.”

I chewed on my lip in thought. Right now, I could go for a smoke.  However, Woellian lungs did not handle any kind of inhaled substance well.  Maybe, that’s why they enjoyed their liquor so much.  “True, but I’m not like the rest.  Can’t you tell? Don’t I seem sweet, and fun? The rest of them are so stuffy and by the rules.”

“I can see the age in your eyes.  You might act young, but you are not.”  His lip curled.  “You are pretending to be what you are not.”

A laugh burst out before I could censor it.  “I’m not trying to act young, I am only enjoying life.  I love drinking, partying, dancing, getting into trouble.  The rest of them, they hate all the stimulation, the lack of power over the physical.  Not me. The first time I was in a body I got into a fist fight.  It was amazing. The feel of flesh against flesh, the burst of pain, it was life.  Soul Merchants we kind of exist, that’s about it.”

The bartender mixed up another drink.  This one was vibrant blue with speckles of yellow inside.  He handed it off a female Woellian with red dyed hair, and crimson tattoos all over her skin.  I can say all over, because she was only wearing thin gauze over herself.

“What’s this called anyway?”  I tapped out a beat on the polished metal counter.

“Bah Ra,” He didn’t even look up from making the drink.

“Of the fruit, nice.” I finished it off.  My stomach roiled at the pickling.  All good, I enjoyed the feeling.

“You’re Wol is excellent.”  He took the glass away.  “You want another?”

“Oh yeah, hit me.  And, of course my Wol is perfect.  I’m a Woellian.”

He pulled up a shaker pouring three different liquors at once.  Then, he spun it on his hand.  With a flourish, he took off the top and poured it into another glass.  “You aren’t a Woellian, you are a Soul Merchant.”

“No, darling dear, I’m both.  That’s the thing. I can hear your leaders whisper in my ears.  They want me to conform.  I never will, but the whispers will stick around until I die.”  I licked the outside of the glass.  I let the fresh, berry smell to tickle my brain.

“Why are you here? Is to share your strangeness?”

“No way.  I’m here to get drunk.”

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Flash Fiction: Bearskin Space Opera

This week’s flash fiction is to take a fairy tale and smash it up with another genre.  I went with Bearskin because it’s my favorite Grimm fairy tale of all time.  I rolled Space Opera. 

Time Isn’t a Straight Road

I stood outside the sealing chamber the scientist doing their last checks over the ring.  The one foot wide device had to be attuned to me before they broke it apart, freeing me from this reality to travel to another.

One stood apart, Melly, she watched me with downcast eyes.

“Melly, don’t worry, I’ll be back in a week, you’ll never miss me.”  I gave her a lopsided grin.  She was my heart. I couldn’t stand to see her sad.

Her lip quivered.  “Axer, don’t go.  Someone else can go.”  She jerked her eyes away.   “There is no guarantee you’ll come back.”

I took her hand and tipped her head back.   “I have to know.  A whole place, a whole existence, no human has ever seen, but I.   I can’t give it up.  Maybe, it makes me an egomaniac, but I can’t turn it down.”

The lead scientist tapped me on the shoulder.  “It’s time, if you’ll step into the chamber.”

I nodded and pulled Melly into my embrace giving her a deep kiss.  She let a cry and stepped inside the narrow cylinder chamber.  The science tugged the ring out of my hand.  It broke into two half circles and the door slammed down.

Light spiked up as I lost my vision.  Every cell in my body seemed to shake.  The stinging pain throbbed as my teeth rattled.  My eyes burned and I screamed.

My eyes fluttered open and I sat up.  The ring was still clenched in my hand.  The landscape was dark gray filled ebony spikes.  A crackling noise startled me to looking up at the deep blue sky cut by a green lightening.

Large, jellyfishes came into view floating in the air.  Their bodies glowed with random flashes of color.  As they drew closer I noticed a ring of spikes surrounded their heads.  Around them were semitransparent brightly colored fish that occasionally were getting caught in the jellyfish’s tentacles.

I rolled behind a spike to avoid the creatures.  As a jellyfish passed, three of the fishes floated toward me, one was vermilion, one was lime, and one was indigo.

My hand went to the baton at my side.  They were concerned that the gun may not be operated on the other side.  The three fish moved closer.  I lifted my weapon above my head warning them off.

Then an image appeared before me.  It was a man in an archaic dress from centuries ago with glowing eyes.  “Greetings, being, did you gate here?” The mouth didn’t move, but I heard an echo of three voices.

“No, we used a frequency to send me here.  What are you?”  Too shocked to really react I felt every muscle my body filled with tension.

“We are People of Many Skies.  We have travelled from one world to the next.  But, in our zeal to know we doomed.”  The image waved his hand outward.  “We allowed the Zoockie to come here.  They are mindless beasts.  They consume and consume.  They have eaten our world.”

I felt torn.  All this was so strange.  A part of me realized I had to embrace it to survive.  “If you can travel worlds why haven’t you defeated them?”

“We live in the mind, we have no physical minds.  The Zoockie have no minds.  They are only bodies.  Why are you here? What is your purpose?”

I debated how much to say.  They were creatures I’d never imagined.  What I revealed about myself was likely no threat to the human race.  And, I came to learn.  “To explore, to learn about new places.”

The figure shifted again moving closer to me.  The fish people moved closer as well.  “Can you return to your world?”

“I’m not sure.” A risk I’d more than willing to take.

“If you assist us, fellow being, we will help you return.  We will give you the metal that allows making sustainable gates.  You must stay until all the Zoockiee have been vanquished.  You are a physical creature, you can kill them.”

There wasn’t much choice.  I didn’t know if these creatures would attack me.  Nor, did I know if the retrieval would actually work.  I’d take the risk if they return trip worked correctly, it would automatically.  If it didn’t they owe me a favor.  “I’ll help you.”

I learned quickly that a swift baton to the body killed the Zoockie. They were frail creatures. However, I was one man against an invasion.  It was hard work.  The first year passed, and I wasn’t automatically recalled.

I continued to toil.  The years rolled by and I missed Melly.  By now, she’d think I was dead.  If their theory held I’d be a gone a week for every year I was here.  I wondered if I’d ever get back.  The fish people might say they’d help me, but who knows if they would.

Over time a spongy green moss plant started to grow back on the ground.  The spikes started to sprout leaves as I killed the Zoockie.  I devised ways for them to use their minds to smash the Zoockie into the spike trees.  Sparkling creatures started to appear, as brightly colored as the fish people.

One I day I rested under one of the strange spike trees.  The projected image returned.  “Fellow being, our invasion has been repelled.”

“Yeah, things are looking pretty good around here.”  As alien as the landscape was, I had grown a fondness for it.

“Your time to return home is now.”

Before I could get too excited a sharp pain pierced my skull.  A formula flashed in my mind. “This is the metal that allows for gates.  Return.”

The sensation hit me.  It was familiar to me.  The same one from when I was sent here.  The stinging pain cascaded through my body, I blacked out.  When I woke I was standing in the chamber, but my form was fuzzy.  I detached my half the ring from my back.  The door slide open.

Melly stood there.  Her eyes had bags under them, she looked pale.  “Axer, your half.”

I held up my ring.  A snick as they connected.  Again a jarring pain hit my body.  The fuzziness faded.  “Finally, I’m back in time.”

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Flash Fiction: Trailer Park Ninja

The challenge this week Who, Where, and the Uh Oh.  Roll a d10 out of each column and we had up to 2,000 words.  However, I didn’t even use a thousand.  

Trailer Park Ninja

The work cell rang. I didn’t answer instead I used coded login on my laptop. The caved in face of my handler clicked into view. “Carvell, you have an assignment. You need to retrieve a package from this address.” The address flashed on the screen it was in Hobgood, my home base.

“What’s the package?” Package was a pretty loose term meaning anything that I needed to bring back.

“A metal case imprinted with the roman numeral nine. Another hostile agent has it. Arm well, walk soft we don’t need anyone to know you were there.” His thick brows twitched.

“Don’t worry, I’ll be as silent as a ninja.” Already my mind ran through all the weapons to take, and how to strap them in.

Immediately, those brows flattened my handler wasn’t pleased. “We don’t need any dead bodies, if you can help it.”

“Why send an assassin to do a job that you don’t need bodies?” Legit question, I wasn’t sure if he’d answer.

My handler jaw tensed. A full twenty seconds ticked by before he answered. “You are closest one to the location. It needs to be taken care of ASAP.”

I fought the urge to let out a sigh. When wasn’t it needed to ‘be taken care of ASAP.’ “Understood, anything else?”

He shook his head. “No, and good luck.” The screen went blank.

I strapped on my vest, my guns, put in my extra clips. A few clicks and I brought up the location on my cell. The place was nearly on the outskirts of town. I double checked my weapons, my armor before heading down my disposable street vehicle and headed out.

As I arrived at the location my brows went sky high. “A trailer park,” I muttered before I could contain myself. The large bulky box houses with gravel strewn between them. Little spokes of grass sticking up every which way. My nose wrinkled as I could smell wet animal fur. How the hell would I find a case in here? The indicator light blinked to my right. Apparently, someone was keeping sensitive materials in a trailer.

With a casual swagger as I made it up the door. A creak gave me enough time to jump sideways as the door exploded. Shards of wood slashed at my clothes as I rolled on the wet ground. The mud smeared across my body as I came up gun in hand. Tension tightened my shoulders and I made a conscious effort to relax. Two set steps and I rested against the wall of the trailer. I dropped down as a noise behind me. My body coated in wet thickness as I saw a cat prance past me tail high in the air.

“Stupid cat.” Feeling more than a bit embarrassed I pull myself up and proceeded inside. The trailer looked like I’d expect Formica kitchen, old flower pattern worn furniture. The only thing that stood out was a ladder sticking out in the middle of the living room. The ladder stark and industrial standing in contrast to the surroundings.

I looked around for the case and the owner. All I found was neatly made bed, and a pristine bathroom. A glance at the tracker told me the item was moving away from me underground. I wanted to avoid the suspicious ladder, which clearly would be a trap. After looking down the brightly lit tunnel I didn’t see anything obvious. Since, I couldn’t put off the inevitable any longer I started down.

Each step rang in a disturbing echo- clang, clang. My teeth ground together. Announcing my presence like this was completely unacceptable. Nothing that I could do about it. I couldn’t handle it anymore and I took a controlled slide to the ground. As I hit the ground my knees jarred a bit.

A gun in my hands and I scanned the area. Plain metal hallway went in both directions. As far as I could see there were no doors. Keeping my eyes up I pulled up the tracker. The package was toward the south. The word trap bounced around in my skull step after step.

The corridor opened up to a massive room. I stopped stunned as I stared a flying saucer. Apart of my mind yelled at me to be careful check the area, but shock rolled over me. I always thought the UFO stories were crap. And here one sat sparkling in the artificial light. The stomping of boots drew my attention.

Yeah, I messed up. About ten men surrounded me guns in hand, steely looking their eyes. They stood up in the unvarnished black. “Drop your weapon and turn yourself in.”

I thought about it. But, it wasn’t in my nature. I dropped and attempted to roll. The air filled with gunshots as they hit my chest, my legs, and arms. They weren’t screwing around. Heaviness filled my chest as I settled on my back. “Guess I’m not much of a ninja after all.”

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Like Recognizes Like

How Amaria found Gulla Valik.  

I found her bloody, blackened, and weak. The limp strands of hair stuck to her filth rubbed clothing. Her dark eyes blazed with utter defiance. She welled up her face and spittle landed next to my foot. “Try me, try to kill me. Attack like the dog you are.” The words raw with the hoarseness of her voice.

“You think I am an assassin working for the Nobles?” It startled me. In a way I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. I walked with near silent steps, and my eyes were always watching.

“I can tell a killer when I see one.” A grim smile at odds with the youth of her face, “like recognizes like.”

The sorrow in her words struck me. A part of her, a hidden part, hated to admit what she’d done. “In these times we are all killers. If we hope to survive. That is the nature of war, rebellion, power, and freedom.” I showed her my hands were empty as I knelt beside her. “I don’t work for the Nobles. Nor have I ever.”

The girl, the only way I could think of her now, scrabbled back her body scraping against the half shattered building behind her. The sunlight glancing off her making her state even more obvious. “Why should I believe you?”

“I’m not sure there is a reason. You don’t know who I am. You don’t know who I work for. We only just met. Yet, I am not lying. If I intended you kill you, I would have done so already.” I let the statement sink in. I tipped my head downward. “Gulla Valik.”

Gulla hissed. “You liar.” A flash of metal flew passed me as I leaned away from the thrown blade.

“I do not lie. I can see your soul, and what you are. Look at my eyes, what do you see?” I changed position my eyes now in the light.

She sucked in a breath. “Your pupils they have a gray star around them. A Star Child? You aren’t even an Alaget.”

“I’m not a Soul Merchant either. They own me.” Even I could hear the calm in my voice break. The Powerless, all the people who weren’t Soul Merchants, thought they knew what slavery was. No one owned their soul. That was true powerlessness. “I mean you no harm.”

“I know about Soul Merchants. As much as anyone does, probably more. Ko,” The curse rolled off her tongue easily. “I can never catch a break.”

“Come with me, we’ll get you cleaned off, and something to eat.” I held out my hand.

Those ancient eyes in a child’s face stared at my hand. “Where would that be?”

“The Rebel’s camp. Sure, you wish to join them?” Gulla’s parents had been murdered by the Nobles. They had been genetic researchers, civilians, in every sense of the word.

“With Harl leading them, hardly. The Rebellion is failing. Every day the Nobles become more powerful. The citizens are afraid to even feel discontented. There is no hope.” A cry off pain as Gulla managed to stand. I could tell either her ankle was broken or badly sprained.

“There is always hope. I’ve seen more desperate situations before. The game wasn’t finished until there are no players left.” My masters always sent me when things were truly terrible.

The dark eyes narrowed. Her head cocked to the side. “You awfully preachy, is that normal for a never ending being. Are you going to spout off more sayings. Oh, like when its darkest the light is around the corner?”

The attiude should have annoyed me, it did a little bit. The rest was beyond amused. No one who knew what I was had ever been. “Perhaps. I have the wisdom of many lives times. I have great power. Do you not fear me?”

Gulla shrugged. “Since, I was twelve I’ve been running. I saw my parents murdered, my brother.” She paused as tears made tracks down her face. “I could have died a lot. Death scares me, but it’s kind of become something I’ve used to be being scared off. An old friend, fear, we’ve been through a lot together. You are terrifying. The only thing that kept me alive is my wit. And, I’ve gotten good at saying whatever pops into my head. It isn’t going to change any time soon.”

A laugh escaped my control as a smile settled onto my face for the first time, in a very long time. “I will enjoy your outputting, annoying mannerisms.” My eyes swept over here. “We have to get you ready to meet the Rebels. I’ll take you to my home until you’re ready.”

Gulla rolled her eyes. “Fine, fine, I’m hungry anyway.”

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My Life for Your Life

Another week, another Chuck Wendig challenge.  This one was a little different.  There was something different about this one.  One needed to write a story with a cliffhanger. Do not finish it, leave the reader wanting, and mocked : ).  Here’s my entry.  

My Life for Your Life


This is why I need to go independent. Working for the guild is no fun, I thought with a shake of my head. Nothing more boring than escorting some preening, unimportant Noble from one place to another. This one was frantic. Sweat poured off him. The powerful scent wafted up my nose. I patted my trusty gun, Tiff, and kept watch.

The walkways were clean, and only a few people about. A few slaves, obvious by the plain white clothing they wore, drifted back and forth between the buildings. Typical High District traffic during this part of the day. “Grand Lord Devon, calm yourself.”

“My life is in danger, would you be so calm?” He snapped wringing his ring ladened hands.

I eyed him for a moment before gazing back the glittering spires around us. I wish I lived in such a nice district. “Every time I go on an assassin’s guild assignment my life is at risk. Guild Vook are bodyguards, Grand Lord. My life for your life.” Don’t roll your eyes, Vena, don’t do it.

He huffed straightening his tunic. “I know Sotho is after me. His house has been cross with me since our last business venture.” A cocky little sneer popped on his face. “Not my fault he didn’t read the contracts properly.”

“Of course not. There is no excuse for poor contract reading skills.” A sneaky, underhanded bastard, a vaero in the flesh. My life for his, I don’t think so. This job might not end so well for Grand Lord Devon.

The walkway cleared all the slaves gone, as we approached his apartment. My arm went out. “Stop.”

“Don’t make a fuss now. We are nearly to my home.” He tried to push against my arm.

There should be people going in and out of the massive housing complex. This was the usual work end time, and the building housed over a thousand people. And, yet no one stirred. “Engage your personal shield.”

“Don’t order me around.” Devon snapped at me.

“Do it!” I was not going to let him die, putting a mark on my record, because he wouldn’t engage his damn shield. A low hum from him put me at ease. My rifle lifted upward, both arms holding it steady. “Get behind that artificial tree display.” I motioned at the cylinder with a plastic tree on it at the end of the walkway.

Devon grumbled. “Hiding behind a tree, how ridiculous.”

Please, let the attacker be a sniper. I took a slow step forward. The overhang was shadowed and I could see something underneath it. In a very even motion I pulled a secondary shield off my belt, pressed the activator and threw it at Devon. It landed next to him triggering a second layer of shielding. I knelt down and my auto cover activated.

A laugh echoed across the empty plaza. “I heard you were good, Vena. I’m glad this won’t be boring.”

In a nearly silent voice I said. “Back camera activate.” I’m not going to be tricked into believing he was in front of me.

A shot came from the far west side and bounced off my cover. I tossed a grenade in that direction. The bang caused debris to fly. An armored figure rolled out of the smoke, and took off at a run.

I fired at his feet. He took a large, boosted leap to behind a statue.

A tug at my weapon with a powerful voice. “Vin, a kinetic.” I pressed my back to my cover holding the gun behind it. Another rip nearly dislocated my arm. Another grenade went flying. It emitted a high pitch squeal. I fired four more shots.

A blast of power knocked me flat. The gun tumbled away off the walkway. “Great.” As I struggled to sit up my weapons were being pulled off my belt and getting thrown off the side. I gripped my fabricated material sword between my two hands. His power seemed to be ignoring it.

“If you want to give up now, Vena, I’m sure Guild Vook would understand. They can’t expect you to fight with no weapons.” Arrogant little idiot.

“Hardly fair of you.” A few changes to the set up of my auto-cover.  That would do the trick.

“I’m a murdering assassin, fair isn’t something I do.”

My feet dug into the ground and sprinted forward. Using the same tech as him I leapt over the statue landing on him.

A swing of his leg caught me in the stomach sending me back. I rolled in time to miss his feet landing on me.

Then, I defended against his sword attack with a slash. My foot caught him in the knee. Off balance I cut upward. He recovered fast. I was forced to defend losing ground.

A hard object came against my foot. He backed me into the statue. I rammed into him with my shoulder. For a moment, he was forced back. He came back with rapid fire attacks. The fear of doom and failure crashed over me. For the first time I worried I might die.

Another slash, my arms growing tired already. I didn’t sword fight. A cry of despair echoed from far away. Oh right, Devon. I am not going to die to save that whiny loser. I blocked with my arm and punched with the blade hilt. The assassin stumbled with a cry. I slammed into his ankle. A cross cut against his thigh.

A rumble behind me distracted me as he pushed me down. The statue crashed down in my direction. Before I could move, he tripped me cutting into my leg. I only had one second to think.



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Opal and the Fool

Flash Fiction Challenge from Chuck Wendig this week is to blend sub genre into some strange, mutant beast.  I got Zombie Apocalypse and Southern Gothic.  Two genres I would never normally write it in.  In fact, I think this is my first zombie story, and first southern gothic story.  


Opal and the Fool

The hiss of a snake behind me caused me to turn around and frown at my room mate Deon. I knew very little of his magic making, he wouldn’t call it voodoo, he said it was his own brand. Honestly, I didn’t care. It kept the zombies out. That’s all that matter. I hammered the last nail into the board. The zombies had gotten riled up by the weather and tore up some of my boards. Though, Deon’s spell, or whatever, kept them out, I didn’t want to encourage other people to join us in our little home.

Opa, we don’t need the boards.” Deon felt we had protection, so we should leave free. What an idiot idealistic.

“Deon, seriously. We are survivors, of the end of the world. I’d prefer if no one knew were holed up in this bar. Not everyone out there is someone, I’d like to live with.” A pounded the bar once more, before turning hands on my hips.

Deon flashed a big white smile against his dark skin. “No need to get all huffy wit me.” He put on a thicker accent to look charming. Quick tip, it isn’t charming.

I rolled my eyes, and stepped over to the bar. The owners left all the liquor. With a rag I wipped out a cracked glass and poured some cheap vodka and took a sip. “We might need to go scouting. In order to set up the security system, I need more wiring, and a few replacement lenses. One of the outdoor camera’s cracked.”

Deon jumped around snake slithering over his back. “You realize their are zombies outside. Zombies who eat people.” He held one hand and gnawned on it with his teeth. “I know you aren’t the smartest gal, but I figure you understand that.”

“I though you were an all powerful magic man, or whatever you are. And you could protect me against the big bad zombies.” I fluttered my eyes at him.

His shoulder’s slumped. “Its risky.”

“Well, duh,” I retorted choking down the rest of my glass. “However, I don’t want anybody, zombie, animal, or human sneaking up on us. I got the back alley rigged with security and traps. The front is only protected by spells, and a few slapped up boards. I don’t feel secure. We are growing food in the back.” I shook my head.

Deon chewed on his thick, delicious looking lip. “Opal, I don’t know. I mean, there only two of us. We really should get some others here.”

“Who would you entrust our lives to exactly? The people we got out with, are going to be risking their lives. They are going to want something in return.” I started out calmly, but I ended with yelling.

“I have an idea.” Deon and I worked well, because he ignored my shitty temper, and I ignored how stupid he was. “I have a cousin, and sister that live in another one of this business on bourbon. I’ll call them up and maybe we can arrange to live together. They’ve had a hard of it. Their good people.” Yeah, as if, I’d take Deon’s word for anything. He’d let satan in if that guy was polite.

However, he was right. I’d never admit it outloud, but we couldn’t keep going out on our own. “Fine, call them. They meet us here and tell them to their weapons ready. You need to redo, whatever you do, to my sword. It wasn’t killing the zombies as quick last time. I stomped up to small apartment upstairs to wait til Deon got everything arranged.


We stood outside my machete in hand. Deon’s cousin, and sister watched me suspiciously. The guy, Davis, and the chick, Mara had a gun, and bat each. The didn’t add anything good to street, it looked worse than after the hurricane. “Okay, now that we shook hands, and all that crap, let’s go.” I turned swinging the machete in a lazy circle. No zombies in sight. Deon kept chanting and throwing some dust around.

“You go out often, like this?” The girl spoke up her voice rich like a good wine.

I shrugged.

“No a talker.” Davis snapped at me.

I smiled, since they couldn’t see my face. “I don’t care. You can live with us, we got food, liquor, protection, and I get more people to do my runs. We don’t have to be buddies. ‘Sides, ask Deon, I’m a thankless bitch.”

That shut both ot them up. For next half our all I could hear was animal sounds, and rough scrapping sound of zombies. My whole body was tense waiting for something, anything to go wrong.

A scream punctured the silence. I held up my hand, as I stepped forward scanning. A woman sat up top of a car holding bundle. A whole mess of zombies surrounding her trying to pull at her. She wasn’t going to make it. “All clear, they are attacking someone else.”

Mara yanked on my arm. “We can’t leave her there.”

I lifted my eyebrows as I stared at her. “Do you really want to save someone, a complete stranger? I mean, really?”

Deon stopped chanting. “Opal, that’s a person there. They are going to die. There aren’t many people left.”

I put my head in my hand. “You people are insane. Are you really going to fight me on this. It could be a trap. Their might be even more zombies wandering around. And, you want to risk our lives, and everything else to save one woman.”

All of them stared at me with their matching liquid black eyes. They didn’t have to answer, I could read it.

I didn’t answer I turned and started running at them. “Hey, stupid faces look at me. I have a weapon, and I’ll kill you.”

They turned as one and lurched at me. I rolled slicing out with the machete zombie blood, violet, and moans filled the air. A gross, slimy hand touched my face. I slashed out as I climbed up onto the car.

The woman grabbed onto me sobbing. “Thank you, thank you.”

“Lady, let the hell go I’m fighting.” Even as I said it brought the blade down on one their heads. “Fire.”

A few bullets flew shattering the zombies apart around the car. My eyes flicked around the area, before I let out a breath. Not a single one around. “Get off the car. If zombies come after you don’t climb up. They aren’t smart, but they will eventually figure it out. Go into a building, and go the the bathroom, and barricade the door.”

The woman nodded her eyes staring at me all hero worshipping. I sighed. “Before you start, you should thank them. I wasn’t going to save you.” I jumped off the hood of the car.

“Wait, how are they dead. You didn’t chop up their heads.” She took a careful step down as the other three ran up.

Its my own special mojo, I’m Deon. That’s Davis and Mara, do you have some place to stay?”

I couldn’t believe it. The idiot, fool, stupid, ignorant southern hick. “Deon,” I shouted. “We know nothing about her. She could be anyone.”

He frowned his dark eyes rounding into circles. “She seems nice.”

A quiet chuckle caused me to duck as a shot missed me and hit Davis right in the chest. The woman held a gun in her bundle. I jerked my machete out catching her in the thigh. She fell and fired again. Luckily, she missed. I jumped up. Another swing a the gun, plus her hand went flying. “What the hell?”

She smiled up at me. “I remember you, Opal. You killed my family so could live.”

“I probably did.” The wave the machete at Davis. “He alive.”

Mara knelt down, and pressed fingers to her neck. “No, dammit.”

“Alright, strip his weapons, and let’s go.” Deon bent down grabbing the items and started to chant.

The woman let out a cry. “You are going to leave me here, to be eaten by zombies?”

I tilted my head at her. “’Course not, you’ll bleed out in a few minutes. No way, they’d be able to find and eat you by then.”

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What is a ‘Soul Merchant’?

Operative 3031 (Baccarin Toltos)
Operation DENIAL
Summary of long term surveillance.

Grand Lady Relbin,

As you requested I have been investigating the sudden appearance of ‘Soul Merchants’ cropping up on Amon. Most of the galaxy seems to know of their existence, but they are quite secretive. I was able to answer most of your concerns.

Soul Merchants appearance is due to our gaining affluence, power, and money within the Galaxy at large. However, they have been on our world the whole time, but only announce themselves formally once a planet or society is ‘sophisticated’ enough, in their opinion.

I was unable to confirm if in fact they can control and alter ‘souls’. They do grant increased abilities, behaviors, and other personality shifts. And, it typically only in exchange for taking another piece of person’s ‘soul’. I can’t confirm if it is a trick, a technology, or the truth.

You were also correct in recognizing their pattern of ‘contracts’ does not focus on any social, economic, or military status. Frankly, it confuses me. They might work with a deranged mad man, as much as a rich socialite.

I also was able to confirm the existence of ‘Star Children’ for you. I questioned a Soul Merchant for you. I was forced to do it in a illegal fashion, and I apologize for that. It told me, Star Children stop the Powerless, what they refer to everyone, but themselves, from ruining the galaxy.

I transcribed the short interview. The Soul Merchant killed itself before I could get more information.

Operative: Now that you’ve stopped screaming maybe we can a friendly chat.

Soul Merchant: You can only hurt this fleshy bag of waste. You cannot reach me.

O: If you are your own race why do you live in the bodies of every race in the galaxy?

SM: We have no dead flesh to live in. We only have the solace of true living realm.

*Note – Soul Merchant’s consider living as the afterlife, and death as life.

O: What if the Star Children?

SM: (laughter) They are our eyes, hands, and feet. They are made up of the Powerless. They don’t despise your empty lives like the Soul People do. They live and thrive like you. Unlike the Powerless they can only serve. Their souls are ours forever.

*note – Soul Merchants call themselves Soul People

O: You enslaved people’s souls for eternity for what purpose?

SM: Powerless are foolish, and wasteful. They killed our last home. If we aren’t careful you’ll do it again. All of you are so wasteful with your shallow, little lives.

O: Tell me more.

SM: No.

(I torture it for several more minutes)

SM: The body dies, Powerless. You live up to your name.

(Subject, unfortunately, dies)

I assure, High Lady Relbin, its body was in good condition. I believe it self terminated. I can’t confirm this due to local law officials I was unable to examine the body.

At this time of the message being sent I’m returning to Amon. If you wish to debrief me or send me back to the field let me know. My Life for the Queen of Amon.

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The Day of The Fall

It came as a surprise. I would like to offer a piece of wisdom and say all dramatic events do. But, nothing I know stands anywhere near the devastation of The Fall. I can close my eyes and see the horror of it every day.

The private train transport shot across the city as it always does. I lingered watching the conductor mess with the controls. Happiness flooded my every pore, because we were about to make some exclusive trade rights with Vorsheein for rare metals.

A casual glance to look through the window shattered everything. Huge, fiery balls were raining from the sky. “What is that?” For a moment I couldn’t process.

Then, all the knowledge, fear, horror, and rage slammed into me at once. “Get the General Bolin on the line, someone’s bombarding us.” One of our beautiful spires exploded into shards. I dropped to my knees.  Burning bits of fire struck other buildings, and trains. The spire swayed once before crashing taking out walkways below. My eyes shut thankful I couldn’t hear the screams.

“Rillan, what can we do?”

I looked at my assistant. She had thick curly blonde hair, and friendly green eyes. She recently joined my staff. “Send an alert for everyone to move to the lowest levels of the city, and get underground. Also, tell people to go to low population areas, and places outside Amarran.” Almost our entire planet was covered by Amarran, our great city. An accomplish that now tasted like ash in my throat.

An ear splitting sound shredded my thoughts as the entire train shook. The track next to us was twisted, and torn. “We aren’t safe here. We need to speed up and get out of here. Also, launch small fighters at the ships bombarding. Distract them, if nothing else.” I pushed against the ground as the Council, my assistants, and military leaders scattered to do what needed to be done.

I leaned against a chair. I felt useless. Thousands, if not millions, of my people were dying and all I could do was bark orders. A’oi didn’t have a true military, only enough to deal with pirates, and planet side security. As the train sped up building broke into pieces, the air crackled with fire, and all the glory we made of our enslavement died around me.

I wished my mother, Rilas, was still alive. I always thought she would know what to do in a crisis. But, she had been dead a very long time. Besides, seeing all this would break her heart.

“Rillan, why are being attacked?” The girl, Pean, asked her voice shaking.

I whipped around to give a quick answer. When I realized I didn’t have one. “I should know, but I don’t.”

She dropped into the chair and began to sob into her hands. I didn’t blame her. I only didn’t, because I wanted to stay strong. “We never threatened anyway, we never attacked anyone.” She managed between the sobs.

A frown wrinkled my forehead as we reached a point outside of Amarran. “Stop the train. We need to get out. They’ll start targeting trains once they are done bombing the cities.” The few not doing anything started to get the emergency exit ready. Pean kept crying. It helped for some reason.

There wasn’t even warning of the attack. I couldn’t think of a single race who would benefit from attacking us. We weren’t powerful and we often stood as one of the few neutral parties in negotiations. A fiery rage, much like our burning city, shot through my body. I wanted to kill someone, anything responsible. I took a few deep breaths and forced myself to calm down.

“Rillan, the lines are ready.” The head of my personal security tapped me on the arm.

I managed to nod walking over to the hatch in the train. I grabbed the metal hooks and jumped. The air rushed by me as I descended to the ground. The burnt acrid smell was everywhere. I slowed, automatically, and settled on the moss. I let go of the hooks as they shot back up. My security force landed a few moments behind me. And, soon the train was empty of the twenty -five people who travelled with me everywhere.

“Is there an underground tunnel nearby? If so we need to get inside. Whatever military isn’t being occupied needs to gather up rations, food, any emergency supplies and meet us at.” I stopped. “Bring me up a map of the underground tunnels so I can figure out a good location for us to meet, and I need the overlay of the city.”

Pean wiping tears from her eyes pulled out a computer and showed me grid underneath the city overlay. My eyes searched over it. When I saw the best spot. I marked it on the map with a few key strokes. “There. It is near the central of the planet, also where all the tunnels intersect even from other continents, and it is mostly away from the city. Send those coordinates on a secure channel. Make sure the military swept from their location up to there. People fleeing will need assistance. Plus, we haven’t been in the tunnels much since the Jirth left. Who know’s what’s in them now.”

The messages went out. After all the business was concluded we started to march to our nearest tunnel entrance. Pean grabbed my arm. “Are we going to survive this?” Her eyes devoid of hope, and her eyes empty of tears.

“We survived the Jirth, we’ll survive this.”

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